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Nov 3, 2012 12:25 AM by Lindsey Gordon (Helena)

MT AFL-CIO blasts political mailers that are using labor union logos

Montana labor unions are up in arms this week after Livingston residents received political fliers in the mail displaying union logos, which the AFL-CIO did not authorize or endorse.

Al Ekblad, the executive secretary of the Montana AFL-CIO, said, "Most of what of what they have done has been vile, malicious, but in this case, it's illegal, it infringes on federal copyright laws, it is challenged under the trademark laws."

The political mailers in question were sent out earlier with week in Montana's House District 62 and prominently display the trademarked insignia of the The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers, and the United Steel Workers, all of which have issued cease and desist letters.

But there is no clear way to trace exactly where these mailers are coming from, and if those cease and desist letters will even get to them; the postage was paid in Loveland, Colorado and the return address is for a UPS store on Cedar in Helena, with no P.O. Box attached and a Livingston ZIP code.

Jim Murry, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, said, "People that are putting this information out, this misleading information live in a mailbox somewhere."

Eklad said, "This is about secret corporate money, this is about black money that is not traceable, and they are trying to buy our elections and we are simply not going to stand for it."

Murry says that he is willing to investigate claims made by the AFL-CIO, but there may be little to nothing that they can do before the election on Tuesday.

Murry did offer one piece of advice for voters: "Put all of this aside and use their best judgment as Montanans."

As for the AFL-CIO, they will not give up so easily.

Ekblad said, "We'll find out who they are and we're gonna come talk to them about it, because what they've done is illegal and they knew it when they did it."

Normally, we would contact the other side for comment, but as noted above, there is no way to track them down.

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